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Thoughts on budget HTPC build?

Last response: in Systems
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December 31, 2011 5:38:24 PM

Hi folks,

This is my first build, but I'm very excited about it. I've learned a ton reading this site - lots of great people here, and lots of great info and wisdom! Reminds me of when I first started modding my car, relying on car club sites. Always trust the enthusiasts.

I've got an old small-form Dell desktop from work, looking to upgrade it to serve as a budget HTPC. Primary objective is to build a functioning machine on the lowest budget possible, mostly to see if I can do it - if this works, I imagine I might be building another, better machine in a year or so.

I'm planning to salvage the CPU, HDD, case, and PSU, replace the MB and memory, and add a GPU for HDMI (couldn't find a decent 775 MB with HDMI). Any thoughts would be most appreciated!


Approximate Purchase Date: This week

Budget Range: $100-150 after rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Video playback, streaming video, surfing

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, CPU (C2D E6300 @ 1.86GHz), case (Dell small-form), PSU (Dell p/n HP-L2767F3P @ 275w)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Fry's b/m

Country: U.S.

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 720, 50-inch 720p plasma, planning upgrade later to 1080p projector

Additonal Comments: Main questions are (a) whether I'm missing any problems, and (b) whether the PSU is big enough? I'd like to salvage the PSU to keep my budget as low as possible.


Current plan is to run W7 on this configuration:

MB: ASUS P5G41T-M LX, $65
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Salvaged Core 2 Duo E6300, $0
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: Crucial 2 x 2GB DDR3 1333, $22
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: ASUS EN210 Silent GeForce 210, $45
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: Salvaged SeaGate 7200 80GB, $0
(Planning to add HDD storage when prices come down)

PSU: Salvaged Dell 275 W, $0
http://www.newpowersupply.com/dell_mh300_275w_power_sup...


Total: $132


December 31, 2011 6:09:30 PM

You don't actually need HDMI. DVI and HDMI carry the same video signal; HDMI just adds sound. You can get the sound separately, of course, so a DVI-to-HDMI adapter would be fine.
You should be fine on the PSU. This is one of the rare instances in which I won't insist on a brand-name box, as the 210 uses just about no power.
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December 31, 2011 6:49:06 PM

Does your current dell board have at least either a pci or pci-x1 slot on it?
While pcie-16 cards are easier to find and cheaper, on a low end card it is not bottlenecked with even pci.
Ok here are two cards.. one is PCI and the other one is PCIE-X1.

-Just changing the card instead of the board and mem too would update the system to a new modern card with hdmi and dvi out.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$59.99
ZOTAC ZT-50610-10L GeForce GT 520 (Fermi) 512MB 64-bit DDR3 PCI HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$59.99 ZOTAC ZT-50608-10L GeForce GT 520 (Fermi) 512MB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express x1 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card
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January 1, 2012 11:28:35 PM

need4speeds said:
Does your current dell board have at least either a pci or pci-x1 slot on it?
While pcie-16 cards are easier to find and cheaper, on a low end card it is not bottlenecked with even pci.


He denotes going to a new MSI board - this has both PCI x1 and x16. Given the objective and constraint for the build the GT 520 is overkill but I'd use them in my build since you never know when you might want to play a game too.
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January 7, 2012 3:43:37 PM

Thanks for the all the help! Turns out my Dell board is putting out DMS-59 - I didn't even know what that was until now, lol. But as long as this is kind of a trial run, I might just try pulling a DVI signal through there and seeing what I can accomplish.
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!